Grennell discusses past accomplishments, future aspirations

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, December 3, 2019


NATCHEZ — Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell announced Friday that he would not be seeking re-election next year, which means on July 1, 2020, a new mayor will take office.

Though the qualifying period for city offices doesn’t begin until Jan. 2, local businessman Dan Gibson and former mayor Butch Brown have already expressed their intent to run for mayor, both as a Democrat.

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After having served as the Adams County Board of Supervisors president, Grennell took the Natchez mayor’s seat with more than 91% of the vote in 2016.

Grennell described the close end to his mayoral term as “bittersweet,” as he recalled the accomplishments and sacrifices he has made throughout his term.

“In July I will have been in public service in an elected capacity for 22 years,” Grennell said. “In my last four years as mayor I’ve dedicated my life to this city and made a lot of sacrifices but I have enjoyed it.”

Grennell said at the end of his term he would like to pursue a different career — possibly teaching again as he did as a professor at Alcorn State University — but hasn’t fully decided yet.

FOR Natchez executive director Chesney Doyle, said she worked with Grennell during his 2016 campaign.

“Because of Darryl Grennell’s quiet, dignified leadership, the bar has been set higher and the course of our history has been changed for the better,” Doyle said.

Grennell has personally overseen many changes to the city, including the construction of a Civil Rights monument outside of the City Auditorium, implemented a Downtown Natchez revitalization project and replaced the city’s internal and exterior lighting with LEDs.

While interchanging the city’s lights, Grennell said the city found they were paying the bill for light fixtures that no longer existed and Entergy cut them a check for approximately $205,000 as reimbursement.

Also under his leadership, Grennell said the city was finally able to hire a qualified city clerk from McComb, provide pay adjustments for police officers and firefighters, enhance the city’s fire rating and public safety with a new fire truck and crime cameras and completed a vegetation removal project that would both stabilize the Natchez bluff and enhance the view from the bluff that to the Mississippi River.

During last month’s board meeting, Grennell said the board approved a $20,000 contract with Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to rehabilitate neighborhoods with dilapidated housing, which he hopes to see through before he leaves office.

Grennell said he also plans to see through a newly established Natchez Veterans Council that would streamline local support for veterans and their families.

Additionally, Grennell said he plans to upgrade the city’s website to improve its functionality and user-friendliness.

“There are just so many things that have happened over the last four years,” Grennell said, “… I just hope that the citizens of Natchez will elect leaders — both a mayor and a board — that will continue to move the city forward to the next level.”

Grennell said he hopes that the next administration will oversee the continuation of things that have been put in place, including weekly department head and economic development council meetings, implementation of the downtown revitalization project and infrastructural repairs.

“Serving as mayor of this city was my honor and it has been a pleasure,” Grennell said. “I thank the citizens for their vote of confidence in me. I worked every day and weekends as an ambassador to this city and have constantly worked to sell this city because I truly believe we have a treasure here.”